2020 took us out of the game and off the field. Because of that, we had a bit of a struggle getting back on the field last night at my daughter’s first official soccer game of the 2021 season. When we were at home getting ready, both my kids were super excited to be out doing something they love. I was super excited to get out of the house and hang out with some of the other mom’s for a few hours. All was going well…
My daughter found her teammates and started practicing before their game. She seemed a bit off but I figured it was because we had missed some practices, had a year off, and just needed to get back into the swing of things. That was not the case.
As the game began, I could see her body language go from excitement and movement to a struggle and she began literally holding her arms tight to her body as if protecting herself or shrinking away. About 20 minutes went by without her being put into the game. I was bouncing between soccer fields, watching my son at the same time, so I didn’t know if the coach didn’t want her in, if she didn’t want to go in, or what was happening. Then the coach waved me over to let me know he wasn’t keeping her out of the game. He was trying to include her but she was being extremely quiet and withdrawn and then the waterworks started. I appreciated how he was being sensitive to her emotions but assured him that this wasn’t something unusual for her.
She has a tendency to get worked up about things. Her emotions run high, she analyzes everything, and she worries A LOT about other people.
I went over and sat down with her to ask some questions and find out what was keeping her from participating. Her first concern was that she wasn’t good enough to play and she felt like this year was more a “professional” soccer team. She said she didn’t know about the different positions and wasn’t sure where she should be on the field. She was also concerned about embarrassing herself, doing something wrong like using her hands, or disappointing her teammates. I had her take some deep breaths, bring the crying down a notch, and just talk to me.
After she expressed all her concerns, I had her think back to how long she has been playing soccer, what she knew about the different positions, how many friends she had on the team, who were her biggest supporters, and so on. Then I reminded her that she has already played before and she was good and she loved it. I also asked her if soccer gave her excitement, joy, and was energizing anymore. Because if it wasn’t, that was ok. She didn’t have to play if it didn’t give her the same satisfaction as it did in the past.
But the most important thing that we talked about was how she could use her strengths to get in the game, have fun, and do what she loves doing.
My daughter has taken the CliftonStrengths Explorer® test. She has received her “Certificate of Talent”. If you’re not familiar with CliftonStrengths, you can learn more at the Gallup website that offers the CliftonStrengths Assessment (for kids and adults). The Certificate of Talent gives kids the top 3 talents they have based on their answers to a series of questions. Her top 3 talents are “Caring, Relating, and Future Thinking”. These are the ways that she lives authentically as her little self and is most energized.
We looked at her first talent, Caring. She cares about others and herself and what people think. We looked at Relating. She has strong friendships and brings friends into other friend’s lives. She loves being around others. And we looked at Future Thinking and how she is always looking into what’s coming up and how she loves to dream and think about what is possible. That put a sparkle in her eyes and when I asked her, “Do you want to play soccer?” she lit up and said YES!
“Go out there and show everyone else that sparkle in your eyes and feel the energy you get by playing this sport that you love.”
There was still time left to get in the game. Her coach put her in, she put her arms down, she became more active, she was moving all over the place. She blocked a shot. She blocked another shot. She was defending the goalie like no one else. It was unbelievable!
And all it took was a little patience, a few deep breaths, a little talk, and a reminder of who she was deep inside.
At the end of the game she came running up to me with the biggest smile and the biggest hug.
That is how she becomes what she thinks, by using her strengths and just being herself. That is how you become what you think, by just being yourself.
If you would like to discover your strengths, register below. Let’s find out what makes you so unique and how your energy flows when you are doing nothing more than just being you.